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The fundraiser’s guide to a successful appeal season

Posted August 29, 2017 by Virginia Davidson

guide to fundraising appeal season

A few years ago, the United States Postal Service released a holiday commercial that showed a determined little mail truck barreling down snow-covered streets and dirt roads to deliver packages on time. The ad declares, “Football has a season. Baseball has a season. This is our season.” When I saw that ad, I couldn’t help but think of fundraisers. If there’s a season for fundraisers, it’s surely the end-of-year appeal season: a time when fundraisers are nonprofit superheroes, charged with reaching out to donors and prospective donors to raise critical dollars in support of their organization’s mission.

Of course, a well-executed appeal requires quite a bit of advance preparation and planning, and so the fundraiser’s “season” starts long before the end of the year. If you’re a fundraiser who’s revving up for your own appeal season, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered key resources from Little Green Light into one handy blog post so you can easily find the straightforward, practical resources you need to run a successful appeal.

Getting started

How to run an appeal: If you’re brand-new to fundraising and aren’t sure how to get started, don’t panic! Our ebook, Six Steps to a Successful Appeal, is a fantastic resource for you. It’s also worth checking out if you’re a seasoned fundraiser who’s seeking concrete steps to elevate your appeal’s effectiveness this year.

Setting goals: It’s hard to make a plan and measure your success if you don’t have an appeal goal in place. Learn how to set realistic fundraising goals with a Gift Pyramid.

Managing your data: Using a donor management system like Little Green Light can take a lot of the stress and guesswork out of your appeal process. If you’re thinking about making the jump from Excel spreadsheets to a donor database or are considering switching systems, you’ll want to consult Is now the best time to invest in a new donor management system? Happy with your current database? Great! Carve out a little time to follow the steps outlined in How to improve the health of your donor database in one hour.

Crafting your appeal materials

Dealing with writer’s block: Writing a compelling appeal letter is an important component of any appeal, but if you’re like me, writer’s block is likely to strike. To help you get over that hump, we put together these tips on how fundraisers can combat writer’s block.

Writing effective thank-you letters: Once your appeal letter is written, it’s time to draft your thank-you letter so you’re ready to show gratitude to your donors as soon as those donations arrive. The blog post 3 quick tips for writing donor-centered thank you letters guides you through that process.

Accepting donations online

More and more donors are making their contributions online: Is your organization ready to accept online donations? Be sure to spend some time making sure your online donation forms are ready for appeal season. We can show you how to create online donation forms your donors will love.

Expert tips

Don’t miss out on this opportune time to raise money: Nonprofits receive the majority of their contributions during the month of December, particularly in the last week of the year. Check out these expert tips on how to increase your year-end fundraising. We also share 8 last-minute tricks to boost your year-end fundraising.

Keep calm

Managing stress: If you’re aiming to manage your own stress level during appeal season, check out this post on How to avoid stress during appeal season. We lay out your appeal ESCAPE plan to help you stay calm during this busy time.

That’s a wrap!

Once the end-of-year appeal season concludes, fundraisers can breathe a slight sigh of relief. Plan to use that time to gear up to be a happy, productive fundraiser in the year ahead.


The resources we’ve gathered here will equip you to run a successful year-end appeal for your organization. Fundraisers, this is your season!

6 thoughts on “The fundraiser’s guide to a successful appeal season

  1. It definitely is the season for fundraisers and charity donations! Hope everybody gets what they need. 🙂 Here’s something to help with accounting in your fundraisers!

    1. Hi Patrice,

      Each of the resources are articles that are referenced within the post. The links are the lighter grey text within the article.


    1. Hi Judy,

      The guide is this article. We have linked to several articles that have been written in the past. The links are the lighter grey text throughout the article. Sorry for any confusion!


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